The show gave the world a look at a no-nonsense, by the book disciplinarian who likes his players’ shirts tucked in, their shoes tied and has little patience for tomfoolery, yet the Dolphins coach had a surprise for his players after last week’s minicamp came to an end.
According to Philbin, the players had been bugging him about going to a water park. Chances are the players never thought in a million years that Philbin would ever take them up on their request, but with the rigors of June’s minicamp upon them, their stick-in-the-mud coach suddenly broke loose.
Philbin took his players and coaches to Nova Southeastern University’s aquatic center and enjoyed an afternoon of fun.
Based off of what we saw from Philbin during last season’s training camp, this seems out of character, but those were mere glimpses of a rookie head coach finding his way as the leader of the team. The labels he earned during those five weeks may be very different from the person he is today.
Now working his way through his second offseason as the Dolphins head coach, the players say that Philbin is much more relaxed and easier to talk to. Wide receiver Brian Hartline even went as far as to tell USA TODAY Sports that Philbin is “more himself” around the players now.
This does not mean that the coach has gone soft on his guys. He will certainly keep the team in hand, but his laid-back demeanor could do wonders for a team that has been bolstered by more than $200 million in offseason acquisitions.
A Super Bowl appearance may be unlikely this season, but it is not out of the realm of possibility, and the foundation is being built to ensure the organization will be in the running for the next decade.
If Philbin is able to walk the line between disciplinarian and player’s coach, he can earn his players’ trust and love — a formula that propelled Tom Coughlin and his New York Giants past impossible odds to be crowned Super Bowl champions not once, but twice in the past six years.
Something special is happening in Miami, and just like in New York, not even the hardened coach is impervious to the moment.